Navigating The Black Waters

In life, it seems that the easy option is rarely the right one. We are constantly faced with difficult choices, but overcoming these difficulties ultimately leads to huge personal growth. An aspiring athlete may physically push themselves past their limit to beat their personal best. A budding linguist might move to a completely new country, to immerse themselves in culture, in an attempt to learn a new language. Even two people having an uncomfortable conversation will ultimately lead to them having a greater understanding of each other. By seeking this discomfort, we can grow to greater heights.

Oluyanju Dada’s exhibition, which is currently being displayed in Brixton library, reflects this sentiment perfectly. “Omi Dúdú – Black Water ” is a collection of collages created by Dada who takes inspiration from ‘the poetics of congregating dissimilar textures and materials of diverse origin and experiences’. This can be seen evidently in his work combining all sorts of materials, some identifiable from everyday life, to create pieces of art that tell wonderful stories.

Omi Dúdú, meaning black water in Yoruba, may seem like an ominous title for an exhibition that is so vibrant and full of colour. However, the name of the exhibition combined with Dada’s artstyle perfectly embodies an important point relating to society. Dada has stated that “history, like black water – omi dúdú – in Yoruba, is daunting to navigate” however these are waters that we must navigate. The visual conflict created in the process of collaging reflects life. Like Dada’s work, we are all individual, contrasting pieces but when collaged together we become something beautiful. Brixton’s community is a perfect example of that.

Dada’s work shows us that although there are elements in art, in life, or in history that, when isolated may not be beautiful or even make sense, they play a part in making the larger picture beautiful. We shouldn’t be afraid of these areas of conflict. Even though it can be extremely uncomfortable, these are the areas we should run towards and try to understand. Seeking discomfort leads to true growth.

– Shogun Shato